Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Meters Music collaborates with U2's Adam Clayton for new in-ear headphones

Meters Music's parent company Ashdown Engineering has supplied the U2 bassist with studio and tour amps for many years...

If the combination of keen pricing and celebrity involvement is important when it comes to choosing your next pair of in-ear headphones, read on.

For the launch of its M-Ears headphones, British manufacturer Meters Music is understandably making much of its long relationship with Adam Clayton and his input into the final sound of the headphones themselves.

"I listened to a whole range of samples they gave me for testing, and eventually chose the version now launched as the M-Ears because it had everything you want: precision, clarity and musicality” said the venerable bassist.

Available in black, tan or red finishes, the M-Ears feature 7mm drivers, magnetic earbuds for pain-free cable management and come with a compact carry case. They're on sale now, priced at £50.


Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Adam Clayton: ""In our band, no one will be a casualty. We all come home, or none of us come home. No one will be left behind"

In a frank and heartfelt speech, U2 bassist Adam Clayton thanked his bandmates of four decades for their support during his treatment and recovery for alcohol abuse years ago, and then joined them for a rollicking rendition of a few hits.

"We have a pact with each other," said Clayton, 57, who was receiving an award from MusiCares, the charity arm of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. "In our band, no one will be a casualty. We all come home, or none of us come home. No one will be left behind. Thank you for honoring that promise, and letting me be in your band.

He ended by quoting lyrics that Bono, U2's frontman, had written when the band was starting out: "If you walk away, walk away, I will follow." At that, his bandmates came out to join him, performing "Stuck in a Moment You Can't Get Out Of," ''Vertigo" and, fittingly, "I Will Follow."

The evening at the PlayStation Theater in Times Square also featured performances by rapper Michael Franti, Jack Garratt, reggae singer Chronixx, Macy Gray, and The Lumineers, who are currently appearing with U2 on their Joshua Tree tour.

Clayton was introduced by British record producer Chris Blackwell as someone who "lived through addiction and came out the other side, and has been courageous enough to admit it."

Taking the stage, the bassist quipped: "I'm not used to achieving anything on my own."
Turning serious, he said: "I'm an alcoholic, addict, but in some ways that devastating disease is what drove me towards this wonderful life I now have. It's just that I couldn't take my friend alcohol. At some point I had to leave it behind and claim my full potential."
He said part of the reason he had a hard time quitting drinking was that, "I didn't think you could be in a band and not drink. It is so much a part of our culture."
It was Eric Clapton, he said, who finally told him he needed help.
"He didn't sugarcoat it. He told me that I needed to change my life and that I wouldn't regret it," Clayton said. He credited another friend, The Who's Pete Townshend, for visiting him in rehab, where he "put steel on my back."
As for his bandmates, Clayton said, "I was lucky because I had three friends who could see what was going on and who loved me enough to take up the slack of my failing. Bono, The Edge, and Larry (Mullen) truly supported me before and after I entered recovery, and I am unreservedly grateful for their friendship, understanding and support."Clayton received the Stevie Ray Vaughan Award for his support of the MusiCares MAP Fund, which offers musicians access to addiction recovery treatment.
Arriving at the theater earlier, he told reporters the fund was especially important given the current epidemic of opioid addiction. "MusiCares ... really provides funding for a lot of people to look into those things and find help," he said.
He added that his bandmates had been supporting him for 40 years.
You know, I guess they loved me before I knew how to love myself," he said. "So it's really important that they share this with me.


Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Adam Clayton Talks ‘Joshua Tree’ Tour, MusiCares Award, and ‘Rebooting’ Democracy

Adam Clayton

For the world’s biggest rock band, U2 can be awfully hard on themselves. After all, when you’re that big, what’s ever good enough? And how do you fight the dinosaur syndrome, where veteran artists (no need to name names) make millions rehashing the hits on tour while their new songs are met with a bathroom break? It’s a career syndrome that U2 has fought doggedly and to a large degree successfully, with the cost being a constant thirst to remain relevant and years of work (not to mention soul-searching) on each of their last several albums.
Yet as 2017 dawned, the group seemed uncertain, pulling back their completed album, “Songs of Experience” — the follow-up to 2014’s “Songs of Innocence” (a.k.a. the gift iTunes couldn’t stop giving) — because, as guitarist The Edge told Rolling Stone in January, Trump had been elected and “suddenly the world changed. We just went, ‘Hold on a second – we’ve got to give ourselves a moment to think about this record and about how it relates to what’s going on in the world.’”
Instead, the group decided to look back — something they’ve done rarely in their four-decade career — and tour behind the 30th anniversary of 1987’s 10-times platinum “The Joshua Tree,” the album that made them superstars. Part of the rationale was that the world had returned to a deeply conservative state similar to the height of the Reagan and Thatcher regimes, with the fall of communism and the Clinton years on the horizon but still far away. But U2 are also one of the most business-savvy music artists in history — their 2009-2011 “360” trek grossed a record $736 million — and to the surprise of absolutely no one, “The Joshua Tree Tour 2017″ is hands-down the year’s biggest, selling 1.1 million tickets in 24 hours and grossing $62 million in its first 10 dates, according to Billboard Boxscore. The 50-date campaign began in in Vancouver on May 12 and continues across North America, Europe and South America deep into October, with more dates looking likely.
While the band’s bassist Adam Clayton spoke thoughtfully and expansively about most of those topics during a half-hour conversation with Variety, that wasn’t the purpose of this interview. Clayton is being honored in New York on Monday at MusiCares’ 13th annual Map Fund Benefit concert to raise funds for the organization’s addiction-recovery services. British one-man band Jack Garratt, andU2 opening act The Lumineers will perform — as will U2 — and Clayton, who has been sober for 19 years, will receive the Stevie Ray Vaughan Award. It recognizes his support of the fund and MusiCares — which has distributed $10 million over the past decade to nearly 3,000 substance-abuse clients — as well as his commitment to helping others with the addiction recovery process. “People can be judgmental and say that addicts are weak or they’re bad,” he says. “But my experience is that people in rehab and recovery are actually very courageous.
How does it feel to be revisiting “The Joshua Tree” all these years later?We’re not going back there because it’s the only way we can get out and do some shows; we’re going back as a way to commemorate and celebrate the release of that record, and in some ways look at what’s changed in those 30 years since “The Joshua Tree” came out. It’s about both what’s changed internally for those wide-eyed idealistic young men that toured the world — I think it probably took us all 10 years to recover from the success of “The Joshua Tree,” because it put our lives on a different course — and has the world actually changed very much?
And what are you seeing?Politics is a complicated issue and I think what we’ve learned by the reaction to the left-wing, if you like, in the last two or three years is that there is a tremendous number of people in the middle-income area who do not feel represented and do not feel they have a stake in the future. I very much picked this up recently from millennial [aged] people, they work very hard and their chances of, for example, buying a home are very, very limited. I think [30 years ago] we were somewhat idealistic in terms of what we were buying into, arriving in America with a kind of immigrant hat on, [believing] we can have a stake in this country, and to some extent the mythology of “The Joshua Tree” is in line with that.
Thirty years on, I‘m realizing that vision of America is gone. It’s a much harsher world.
I hope change will come and democracy will reboot itself in America, and it will serve more of the people than it does now. This is a difficult period — there’s a lot of unrest in Europe in exactly the same way [as America], of people just being angry. There’s a lot of anger, and people are struggling and they’ve been struggling for too long.
Is that what you’re hearing from fans?No, we’re not getting a direct feedback in that sense. But in terms of people that one meets in life, and if you’ve got an ear open to what’s happening, I’m getting that sense. It’s certainly true of the way people are voting, and it’s certainly true of what’s been happening in Europe. People are mistrusting traditional politics because it hasn’t worked for them.
Is it true that you’d finished your latest album, “Songs of Experience,” but decided to rethink it because it didn’t feel right after Trump had been elected?Yeah, that was certainly our feeling. Once the election had happened we didn’t want to put out a record without having some time to evaluate what was going on and what was behind the outcome. And certainly that wave of change seemed to be moving through Europe as well, so we did say “Let’s reexamine where we are,” and we did reexamine and I think it’s been better for the record and it’s been better for the songwriting and it’s much more on-message of what U2 does and what U2 does well.
[“Songs of Experience”] has been ready to go for awhile, because it didn’t require a lot of surgery, so to speak — it was a little bit of cosmetic surgery. So we said, “We could put this record out this year, or we could celebrate ‘The Joshua Tree’ and put out the [new] record when all that’s done, and then plan a tour around it and all the things that go along with a new album.” The only spoiler is that ‘The Joshua Tree’ tour has been an enormous, runaway success and we just keep adding dates. So the answer to your question is, [“Songs of Experience”] is ready to go, but at this point I’m not sure when it’s going to go because the tour is still up and running.
 guess there’s no way to tour behind the new album and “The Joshua Tree” at the same time.The messaging would be a little confusing because the new album is really part of a suite of songs that relate to “Songs of Innocence,” which was primarily designed as an indoor tour that had two halves — “Songs of Innocence” and “Songs of Experience” — and they were kind of bookends. We planned “Songs of Experience” as an indoor tour; we just don’t think it’s something that would work outdoors. The “Songs of Innocence” [arena] tour two years ago was really powerful and really touched people and touched us. We wanted to continue that intensity and I think that’s what we’re going to try to do.
You’re being honored by MusiCares next week. Why is the organization so close to your heart?I think the reason is, as someone who has been through rehab and recovery, I absolutely acknowledge that lots of people run into difficulty with addiction, and it is somewhat misunderstood. People can be judgmental and say that addicts are weak or they’re bad, but my experience is that people in rehab and recovery are actually very courageous. It’s great to know you can have a second chance. I was very lucky – it was a privilege for me in that I could afford [rehab] and I could put my life on hold to benefit from it. It’s not so easy for most other people, and I think that’s where MusiCares really helps. Around 19 years ago, the success of “The Joshua Tree” had really turned my head and I didn’t know how to cope with it. I didn’t know what was wrong with me, but some musicians were there for me and showed me that you could be in a band and not party to a self-destructive [extent]. One of those people was Eric Clapton. It was amazing to me to have him say there is help and there is life after you stop drinking. So I’m very, very grateful to any organization that helps people get clean and sober.
Have you helped others in the way Clapton helped you?Yeah, whenever I’m called upon or whenever I come across anyone who needs some guidance in the matter. In my experience every alcoholic or addict has become obsessed with the eternal question: Am I an addict? And I think if you’re in that cycle, you have to conclude that you are and you have to get help. It’s very frightening for anyone battling those demons. I like to mentor and be there and help someone get to the point where they can make those decisions for themselves.
Are organizations like MusiCares more essential now that Trump and the Republicans have declared war on Obamacare?The fact that there is very little finance for these issues is worrying, especially when every day in the American press I’m reading stories about the proliferation of opiates and the general willingness of medical companies to encourage prescription meds, which is devastating communities in America. I am seeing some open mindedness and some willingness to help [with substance-abuse issues], but generally I don’t think it’s enough. The accidental death of Prince was absolutely shocking to people of my generation, and I come across a lot of families that are damaged and suffer from addiction and alcoholism. It’s just tragic.
Did you have a hand in selecting the performers for the MAP Benefit on Monday night?We have Hal Willner as our musical director and he’s pulled together a great roster of people [who will be announced soon]. One my favorite new artists — I wanted to have some new artists on — is Jack Garratt, he’s a phenomenal force of nature, he’s going to be with us on the night, and so will The Lumineers, who are [opening] some shows with us. There are a few other people who are unconfirmed at this stage but I think they’re gonna come in and make it an interesting, eclectic evening. I think an event like this has to have some newer, younger artists, some new blood. It can’t just be established people turning up.
Who are some other recent newer acts that you like?We had the pleasure of going to see Chance the Rapper, whom we met at Bonnaroo, in Miami the other night. He’s quite a character and of course he’s pioneering a very different approach to the music business, which is interesting. If we are looking at new models of how artists are going to survive in the future, he seems to have figured something out.
And what will you be doing for your MAP benefit performance?For our set I think U2 are going to honor me, I have to say, and we’re going to do something together. But until we get closer to the event and get into rehearsals and have a few more discussions with Hal, I’m not sure if we’re going to be able to set up any collaborations because our schedule is really tight at the moment. But we’re gonna do what we can.

Senior Music Editor

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Edge received the Les Paul Spirit Award

In private tent on the Bonnaroo grounds, The Edge received the Les Paul Foundation’s second annual Les Paul Spirit Award. It recognized his status as an innovative artist whose embrace of technology (like his signature “delay effect”) has taken him to new creative heights


Tuesday, June 6, 2017

OVERWHELMING DEMAND: New tour dates and places

"Thirty years can't dull searing music, hopeful lyrics or the captivating Irish band behind them”

It’s been called ‘the tour of the year’ and the band are set to take The Joshua Tree Tour 2017 to Mexico and South America this year, as well as returning to more cities in the US.

New dates announced today include a run of September US shows which open in Detroit - the city where the band first played a headline stadium show back on April 30th, 1987 at the Silverdome - followed by stops in Buffalo, Minneapolis, Indianapolis, Kansas City, St. Louis and San Diego.

In October the tour will head to Mexico City followed by concerts in Bogota, Buenos Aires, Santiago and Sao Paulo.

For Rolling Stone the show reveals "a live act simply without peer… It really felt like they were reapplying for the job of the best band in the world by showing how they earned the title in the first place.”

The band "not only unpack a masterpiece but provide moments to hold on to forever”. (Consequence of Sound)

Ticket prices start at $35.00 with general admission floor tickets at $70.00. There will be an exclusive priority presale for U2.com subscribers starting Thursday, June 8th (10am) through Saturday, June 10th (5pm) local times for subscribers who may have missed out on the previous presale opportunity along with new subscribers. There will be a 4 ticket limit for subscriber purchases and a 6 ticket limit commencing with public sales. In North America, all floor tickets will be paperless unless otherwise noted. Special guest for the North America concert dates to be announced.

In Mexico and South America, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds have been confirmed as special guest for all dates. Tickets will go on sale Wed. June 14th in Mexico City, June 15th in Bogota, Buenos Aires and Santiago and Friday June 16th in Sao Paulo. There will be an exclusive priority presale for U2 Subscribers at U2.com starting Thursday, June 8th (10am) through Saturday, June 10th (5pm) local times for U2.com. All times local. (Subscribers will be emailed more information ahead of the presales). Details on the Tour page.

Not a U2.com subscriber but interested in taking part in the presales? Subscription details here.

NEW #U2TheJoshuaTree2017 DATES

Sun Sep 3 - Detroit, MI Ford Field
Tue Sep 5 - Buffalo, NY New Era Field
Fri Sep 8 - Minneapolis, MN US Bank Stadium
Sun Sep 10 - Indianapolis, IN Lucas Oil Stadium
Tue Sep 12 - Kansas City, MO Arrowhead Stadium
Sat Sep 16 - St. Louis, MO The Dome At America’s Center
Fri Sep 22 - San Diego, CA Qualcomm Stadium

Tue Oct 3 - Mexico City, Mexico Foro Sol
Sat Oct 7 - Bogota, Colombia, Estadio El Campin
Tue Oct 10 - Buenos Aires, Argentina La Plata
Sat Oct 14 - Santiago, Chile Estadio Nacional
Thur Oct 19 - Sao Paulo, Brazil Morumbi Stadium

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Adam Clayton to receive MusiCares addiction recovery award

U2 bassist will be honored at the MusiCares MAP Fund benefit concert in New York on June 26 in support of MusiCares' addiction recovery programs

MusiCares has announced that the 13th annual MusiCares MAP Fund benefit concert will honor 22-time GRAMMY winner Adam Clayton of U2 at PlayStation Theater in New York on June 26.

Clayton will receive the Stevie Ray Vaughan Award in recognition of his dedication and support of the MusiCares MAP Fund as well as his commitment to helping others with the addiction recovery process. Performers will be announced shortly.

Brit Award-winning singer/songwriter Jack Garratt and GRAMMY-nominated folk-rock band the Lumineers will be among the artists to pay tribute to U2's Adam Clayton at the 13th annual MusiCares MAP Fund benefit concert on June 26 at the PlayStation Theater in New York City.

A 22-time GRAMMY winner, legendary bass player Clayton will give a closing performance at the event and receive the Stevie Ray Vaughan Award in recognition of his dedicated support for the MusiCares MAP Fund, improving access to addiction recovery treatment and sober living resources for members of the music community. GRAMMY winner Hal Willner will be the evening's musical director.

Lauded as one of Britain's freshest talents, Garratt recently played at the 2017 installment of Coachella. His debut album, 2016's Phase, reached No. 3 on the UK album chart on the strength of the hits "Worry" and "Breathe Life."

Touring in support of their 2016 album, Cleopatra, the Lumineers  are currently opening shows for U2's U.S. tour celebrating the 30th anniversary of GRAMMY Hall Of Fame recording The Joshua Tree.

Support MusiCares by buying the new Don Williams tribute album


Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Bono Talks 'Joshua Tree' Tour, Trump, Status of U2's Next Album

Until U2 kicked off their Joshua Tree 2017 Tour at Vancouver's BC Place stadium on May 12th, they honestly weren't sure they had a concept that would work. Here was a show built around an album that came out during the final years of the Ronald Reagan administration by a band that had spent their whole career refusing to cash in on their past. "It's so not us to throw ourselves a birthday party," says Bono. "We didn't know if we could pull off a tour that honors The Joshua Tree without it being nostalgic. That's an oxymoron."

But by the time Bono called into Rolling Stone three shows into the tour he had no doubt the group had a winning formula, one that took The Joshua Tree out of 1987 and firmly planted in in 2017. We spoke to the U2 frontman about how the band got to that place, and where he hopes they go from here.
Where are you calling from?I'm in sunny Los Angeles, which for an Irish fellow is always a bit of a thrill.
How were the first three shows for you?Oh, my goodness. ... I would say that we didn't know until Vancouver that the concept, or the script, would connect. That was a relief. Personally, I had some technical difficulties with my in-ear monitors. I was finding it hard to pitch. I've listened back and I did a pretty good job in pitch terms, but it was hard for me to enjoy the show since I had to concentrate so hard. So I was really relieved when I walked out and the rest of the band and everyone else was like, "Wow, that was great."
So I really enjoyed Seattle. I knew it wasn't just a concept. There was some connection with the audience, that's the difference. I just felt I had to give myself to this. It's all very well going back to where you started in terms of not using IMAG [screens]. That's the way we became the band that wrote The Joshua Tree. It's great to play like that, but it's hard for some people since they're used to IMAG. I just felt, "Can't we just concentrate on the music?" People weren't taking out their phones, which was amazing. I was just listening, so I really have to make the singing be the connective tissue, from my point of view. There's no images available, so it's like Shea Stadium; you're just these four dots at the start of the show. Then, presto, just add water and you become giants.
It's nice being ants for a few songs since you've just got to focus on the music since there's nowhere else to look. So I'm really enjoying that and also getting the crowd to be this choral response. That happened in Seattle. I was very grateful for that. 
Tell me why you wanted to do this tour.At first, it was just to honor this album that meant so much to us. It wasn't any grand concept. It was, "Shouldn't we do something? What can we do that would be special?" Then we came up with some of the idea and the thing just ran away with itself and the more relevant we realized it was. I know from reading reviews and hearing from people we've done it without being nostalgic. It's like the album has just come out. Nobody is talking about it as an historical thing. People are talking about its relevance now.
When you were brainstorming the tour, what ways did you come up with to fight the nostalgia?The high-tech aspect, finding this high-def 8[K]; it's like a three-dimensional image. I can't believe the Joshua tree is not there. You can touch it. We wanted to be very, very high tech. Then we commissioned Anton [Corbijn] to do that. We felt, "Can we just, again, play the songs without [images of us on the] IMAG?" We were calling it "punk floyd" for a while. Then the punk in us felt, "No, no, we need to see the band at some point." We entered at "Bullet the Blue Sky," that was very exciting.
Then we got very excited about the third act, as we call it. The first act is songs that got us to The Joshua Tree. The third act was, "Can we go into the future and what would the future sound like and feel like?" Then somebody said, and it might have been me, the future is about women. I really believe that, so let's make it an ode to women. As you know, feminine spirit is crucial at times when the male hegemony is causing mayhem. After the Second World War, people like John Lennon, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, whoever ... Marvin Gaye, say – that's a feminine spirit. The 1960s was a feminine spirit, and the 1960s was born in the rubble of the Second World War.
Great leaps forward of consciousness have a feminine spirit. Men start to look like [women], they grow their hair long. It's a funny thing, the Renaissance. ... Whenever you see the feminine spirit there's usually a jump in consciousness. In the One Campaign we're leading with, "Poverty is sexist." It's a campaign run by women. And I'm just watching, stepping back, to be the kind of town crier that I used to be. I'm still banging on drums, but I'm in the background. The singers are women. I'm amazed by it.
We had this idea as an ode to women. Then we got this idea of, "What if we got to know a woman, a girl, in a refugee camp?" The sort of women that aren't welcome, that President Trump doesn't want in America, in the country that brought us the great lines of Emma Lazarus at the foot of the Statue of Liberty. Let's meet one such immigrant who he wants to turn away from the shore. I commissioned french artist J.R. He didn't have much time to do it. Where are we going to find this girl?
He finds her in Zaatari in a camp in Jordan, which i visited with my daughter and [my wife] Ali a year ago. He finds this incredible spirit, Omaima. She talks about America as a dreamland. She closes her eyes and J.R. asks her in another segment of the film we don't broadcast, "What do you see when you think of America?" She goes, "Oh, it is a civilized country and they are a good people." It was just heartbreaking. We've put some of that in that show, just for a kick in the balls. Just when you think things are lightning up, we do the ode to women. The next thing you know this woman gives you a kick in the balls, but in the most velvet way. She says everything. Sometimes when we're playing it I have to turn away from the film. I can't sing when we're looking at it. It's very touching. She's so dignified and so authoritative. There's something of a future leader in her.
I spoke to the Edge for a second after the show. He told me the set list was changing a lot in the final days before the first show. What was moving around?Not the middle of it, since we can't move that around – the denouement at the end of it. I don't know if you think it's too long; I think in the shows you saw, it goes from "One" into "Miss Sarajevo" into "The Little Things Give You Away." Normally we wouldn't allow such a denouement. It's a long thing to do, but we felt because it's so musical that we could get away with it. That was moving around before we made the set list. I may still move it around. We're looking at that now.
You dropped "MLK" and brought in "Bad."Yeah, because "MLK" was using up some of the space that "Streets" occupies. It was nice and elegiac, and we don't need to be at that point. I still wonder if there's too many songs at the start for people on the floor that can't see us. I know it's great for people up high that can see us. [Note: The band has since cut "A Sort of Homecoming" and moved "Bad" to the third act.]
I imagine you're purposely playing the songs in the sequence they came out, right?That was intentional, yeah. We felt we've done Boy on [the 2015] Innocence and Experience [tour] and October. We did "Gloria." We did "October." Actually the theme of Innocence and Experience has a line from a song called "Rejoice" which is "I can't change the world, but I can change the world in me." I wrote that at 22. That's the spirit of Innocence. But the spirit of Experience is actually I can change the world, I can't change the world in me. That is the actual, dare I say it, dialectic of Innocence and Experience. And when we come back to that tour as the Experience and Innocence tour, that's the theme. I felt we've done that. That was just to say that October, we covered.
I'm very pleased with the opening act. There hasn't been any complaints with the lack of IMAG, which is very nice since it means people are listening.
The Joshua Tree portion of the show, did you ever think about not playing it completely in sequence?I was a bit worried about that. I thought the density could play a role in us getting bogged down in the second half, but I felt the new arrangement of "Red Hill Mining Town," which is just magic, gives it space and "Running to Stand Still" gives it space. We wouldn't have done it if it didn't work. 

Prior to this tour, did you see Roger Waters play The Wall? Did you see Springsteen play The River? Have you gone to any of these album shows?I saw Roger Waters doing The Wall, missed Bruce, and mourned the missing of Patti Smith doing Horses, which was such a formative album for us. It's not an original idea. I saw Bowie do Low.
How did it feel to play "Exit" again?I had a lot of self-harm over the years playing that song. I was very glad not to play it for many years. I broke my shoulder. I got into some very dark places on the stage. I'd rather not step back into that song, but I found a way by thinking of where it came from and going back to the books I was reading at the time. I realized the real influence was probably Flannery O'Connor, so I developed this character called the Shadow Man and I'm managing to step into the shoes of the Shadow Man without any self-harm. It's quite a character. I'm actually using some lines from [the O'Connor book] Wise Blood. I also do "Eeny, meeny, miny, moe," which we grew up with in Europe, a totally racist thing. The bit from Wise Blood is, "Where you come from is gone, where you thought you were going is never there. Where you are is no good unless you can get away from it." It's Southern Gothic, which is what I guess you'd call it.
In "New Year's Day" you sang the "Gold is the reason for the wars we wage" line for the first time. There weren't a lot of snippets of cover songs. You seem to be sticking to the album versions of the songs.I put "oil" in, actually. I said, "So we're told this is the golden age/But oil is the reason for the wars we wage." By the way, part of the fun of doing these shows is I'm changing the lyrics when I want to and I'm sticking to, as you point out, the arrangements on the albums. But I was in a band early on in the 1980s where the lyrics where not really the priority, strangely. It was, "What's the song about? What's the tune? What's the beat?" And you had people like Brian Eno who was, like, sort of anti the concept of the old-school lyric. He was saying, "Just look at these beautiful sonic paintings you're doing with your voice. Why do you need words? Just sing like that."
On Unforgettable Fire we left "Elvis Presley and America" like that, but some of the other songs were not finished, so "Bad" or whatever is not finished. Even "Where the Streets Have No Name" isn't finished, but why would you touch it? As a lyric it's a sketch. And so I'm really enjoying changing the odd lyric. "I first saw her face high on a desert plane." That's a beautiful change. In "New Year's Day" I sing, "It's true, it's true, the people break through." Little tiny little things that keep me close to the songs.
During "Bullet the Blue Sky" the fans were expecting a similar speech to the one you made at the Dreamforce show last year, but you didn't really go there.I think the peace film is the way to speak about Trump. I also think it's very, very important that people who voted for Donald Trump feel welcome at our show. I think they have been hoodwinked, but I understand and I would not dismiss the reasons why some people voted for him. I think people on the left really need to put their ear closer to the ground. I do this thing where I say, "The party of Lincoln, the party of Kennedy and those in between holding on, those letting go of the American Dream are welcome." This is the most important line: "We'll find common ground by reaching for higher ground."
I think that's important that people feel that. And then, because a lot of my friends, and maybe yours, after the election and Brexit there's this grieving, this melodramatic word, but the people feel like they are grieving. I was like, "What is it that people are grieving for?" I started to think it's their innocence. There's a loss of innocence. We're activists, but ever since I was born, and you're younger than me, the world was getting better every day. When you woke up, even if you did nothing, the world got better. Those of us who worked in the One Campaign we could point to people on AIDS drugs or people getting vaccinated, infant mortality rates coming down.
There were reasons to be optimistic. When I was in my twenties the Berlin Wall came down, Mandela gets free. You just think that this world is somehow just moving in the right direction, like almost it's evolution, the human spirit is evolving. It turns out that's not true. These things have to be brought into being. There are white papers going around the White House with 47 percent cuts to aid programs that keep babies alive, vaccinations. It's shocking, but it's real.
My thing in the middle of the show is to say, "OK, the dream, maybe it's time to wake up into it." Maybe the dream is telling us to wake up and Dr. King's dream is telling us to wake up. It's OK to realize it's going to be difficult, but we can do things. We are full of ingenuity. The world can be a much better place, but don't think it will be on its own. That's the thing.
To switch gears, are you still unable to play guitar?Yeah. I can play sitting down if the neck is pointing up in the air, and I can play with three fingers standing up. Dallas Schoo, Edge's guitar tech, is encouraging me to pick up slide guitar.
Do you miss playing it during the show? The band certainly doesn't miss it. They don't have much time for my guitar playing. I can play at home, but it just looks awkward. I don't think it's a necessity.
Can you talk a bit about the choice to end the show with a brand-new song?The only way we could do this tour was to play a new song. Times were right to do this tour. It was the right album and we did it, but in the end I couldn't go all the way without playing a new song. I wanted to start playing more new songs, is what I want.
What's the status of Songs of Experience?The band will tell you not to listen to me on those kind of matters since I thought it was done last year. But I think the pause has made it better. I will give them that. But if you left it to Edge he'd still be remixing it next year. But we have these songs. The problem is we have 15 songs and to get them down to 12. We don't like long players. The actual track listing is not set yet, but we have some proper, proper fuck-off songs. "Little Things That Give You Away" is one of them.
Steve Lillywhite was brought back to finish it off?We wanted to play live to really get it to cohere. Songs of Innocence, the songs are very special, I'm very proud of the songs, but if there's one thing I would criticize it for, it's the coherence in production. A friend of mine said to me, "Songs of Innocence? It doesn't sound innocent enough. It should have been more raw." So we didn't want to go in and make that mistake again, so we went in and played the songs again. Steve is the best guy for recording us in the studio with the band playing live, so that's what happened.
You're thinking early 2018 if you had to guess?I'd like it before then, but don't listen to me.
Then the plan is to do the Songs of Experience tour with the same staging?Yeah, the Experience and Innocence tour. It'll invert a lot of things, but it's got the same basics. We've got some incredible staging ideas, but it's basically the same language as the last tour.
Do you see any chance of an Achtung Baby tour in 2021?[Laughs] I haven't thought about it, but then again if you'd asked me five years ago about a Joshua Tree one I would have laughed at you. It would have to be called Zoo.Com.


Wednesday, May 17, 2017

U2 Perform With Eddie Vedder, Mumford & Sons in Seattle

U2's Joshua Tree 2017 Tour continued to deliver surprises Sunday night in Seattle as Eddie Vedder and Mumford & Sons joined the band on "Mothers of the Disappeared."

Following the first verse on The Joshua Tree closing track, Bono asked the Centurylink Field crowd, "Where's Eddie Vedder? Spirit of Seattle, spirit of Chicago, spirit of America. Where's Eddie?" The Pearl Jam singer emerged to take lead vocals on "Mothers of the Disappeared." Bono brought out Mumford & Sons, U2's opening act, to provide harmony to the track's closing coda.

The Seattle show featured both new and old cuts. U2 performed their new Songs of Experience track, "The Little Things That Give You Away" as well as deeps cuts like "Trip Through Your Wires" and "Exit," for the first time in nearly 30 years. And, best of all, they performed Joshua Tree's "Red Hill Mining Town" for the first time ever onstage. The band's trek in celebration of their 1987 album continues Wednesday in Santa Clara, California.


U2 Resurrect "The Joshua Tree"

It's very easy to dismiss U2's Joshua Tree Tour 2017 as a cash grab by a band that's more comfortable these days looking into the past than into the future, especially considering the blowback that greeted their 2014 LP Songs of Innocence, a public-relations fiasco of such devastating proportions that Saturday Night Live's Weekend Update is still mocking it three years after the fact. It would also be easy to think the move means that they have officially joined the ranks of the Rolling Stones and the Who, giants of rock that long ago contented themselves with playing their old hits at stadium shows that create tremendous amounts of excitement, nostalgia and money, but little forward motion.

But U2 haves pent their entire career proving doubters wrong, fiercely resisting the easy lure of nostalgia and rising above any move that hints at cynicism. Time and time again throughout the new tour's U.S. opener at Seattle's CenturyLink Field (the band's North American run officially began in Vancouver two nights earlier), U2 proved how a 30-year-old album can speak to the issues of today – whether they be immigration, U.S. foreign policy or the dwindling power of labor unions – while reminding the audience that they are a live act simply without peer. The band has always done their best work under trying circumstances, and in the words of Bono back around the time they came back with "Beautiful Day," it really felt like they were reapplying for the job of the best band in the world by showing how they earned the title in the first place.

The show began with Larry Mullen Jr. casually walking onto the B stage (which is shaped like a tree) and kicking into the thunderous intro of "Sunday Bloody Sunday." He was totally by himself, mirroring (intentionally or not) how he founded the band back in 1976. One by one, the others joined in, though they stayed on the tiny satellite stage and left the enormous screen on the main stage dark. It stayed that way for the entire pre–Joshua Tree portion of the evening, a bold move when you're playing to about 60,000 people, most of whom can barely see you, but it worked.

"Sunday Bloody Sunday" led right into "New Year's Day," also from 1983's War. They've done this song more than 700 times, but this was the first time Bono has ever sang "And so we're told this is the golden age/And gold is the reason for the wars we age" from the final verse. It was the first sign that this show was about presenting the songs as they appeared on the albums, minus the extended codas, false endings, snippets of cover songs and mini-speeches that have seeped in over the decades. It was also the first indication that the show (at least until the encores) was going to present their music in strict chronological order.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Larry Mullen to appear in Alice Cooper's album

The album Paranormal will be released July 28

Alice Cooper will release his 27th studio album, "Paranormal", in July. The follow-up to 2011's "Welcome 2 My Nightmare" will feature guest appearances by ZZ TOP's Billy Gibbons, three members of the original ALICE COOPER band and U2 drummer Larry Mullen Jr.

During an appearance on last Friday's (May 5) episode of the SiriusXM radio show "Trunk Nation", Cooper said producer Bob Ezrin was responsible for getting Mullen Jr. involved in the sessions.

"Bob Ezrin and I sat there, and Bob says, 'What do you think about Larry Mullen on drums?' And I went, 'That's a great idea. It'll change things up so much on just the basic tracks.'"

Cooper also talked about the U2 drummer's somewhat unusual approach to recording. Alice recalled: "Larry [said], 'I wanna see the lyrics.' I said, 'Really?' He [said], 'Yeah, I play to the lyrics. I don't play to the bass.' And I said, 'That is so cool — just the idea that you're interpreting the lyrics on the drums.' So that totally makes the album another album."

Cooper added that he doesn't have unrealistic expectations for his new album, explaining that he is making records for his longtime fans, full aware that the days of multi-platinum LPs and million-dollar profits are long gone. "Those days are over," he said. "The golden age is over. I have a world of fans out there, all over the world, and it took forty-five years to build that fanbase. So when I make records now, I make 'em for those people. I'm not trying to break a new audience. I am playing an album for an audience that's already there, and I think AEROSMITH is too, and I think anybody that's established is making records for their fanbase."


Thursday, May 11, 2017

Five things about U2's return to Vancouver for 30th anniversary 'Joshua Tree' tour


TORONTO -- Legendary rockers U2 have clearly found what they're looking for in Vancouver.
The famed Irish band is drawing plenty of local attention with a return to the city for the launch of the 30th anniversary "Joshua Tree" tour on Friday.
It's the second time they've picked Vancity as the starting mark for a tour -- it was almost exactly two years ago that they kicked off support for the album "Songs of Innocence" in the B.C. city. They also chose Vancouver as a base for rehearsals in 2005 before embarking on the "Vertigo" tour.
Unlike past shows, the band is performing its 1987 album "The Joshua Tree" in its entirety each night. That includes running through favourites like "With or Without You" and "Where the Streets Have No Name," as well as performing "Red Hill Mining Town" for the first time live.
Social media has been flooded with Vancouverites revelling in the band's arrival to the city where they've been rehearsing since earlier this month. Some fans have posted clips from outside the BC Place stadium where echoes of the songs could be heard through the walls.
After playing Vancouver, the band heads south for a batch of U.S. tour dates before hitting Toronto on June 23.
Here's five things about the tour and the band's Canadian connections:
HUGE DEMAND: While U2 packs stadiums on every tour, it's shocking to consider they originally planned to mark the highly anticipated "Joshua Tree" anniversary with a very short run of dates. Bono recently told BBC Radio 2 that he intended to perform "three, four or five" shows to honour the occasion. Instead, the tour ballooned to 33 shows covering North America and Europe.
TIMELY COMMENTARY: Rarely has U2 shied away from a political statement and this tour will be no exception. The band has licensed two poems by Canadian parliamentary poet laureate George Elliott Clarke to appear as projections before every show. "Kaddish for Leonard Cohen" was written as a tribute to the late Montreal songwriter, while "Ain't You Scared of the Sacred" addresses the Quebec City mosque shooting in January that left six people dead.
LOVE FOR CANADA: The band's return to Vancouver coincides with Canada's year-long sesquicentennial celebration. Bono famously honoured the country during a 2003 Liberal convention for incoming prime minister Paul Martin by saying, "I believe the world needs more Canada." Since then, variations of the rocker's tribute have been repeated by other famous admirers, including former U.S. president Barack Obama.
WHY VANCOUVER?: Finding reasons to extend their visits to the city are easy for Bono and his crew. In 2015, the singer told Vancouver radio station Rock 101 that Vancouver offered a welcoming vibe that helped the band overcome its pre-tour insecurities.
"We always had a thing with Canada in general, but Vancouver has been very, very welcoming of us at a time when we we're very fragile," he said.
"Because you get quite vulnerable when you are preparing to launch a tour. And I know that sounds odd, but there is a level of nausea, and sort of, you feel ill in the pit in your stomach. It's a really anxious time.... Here in this city we feel very free. And I like to get out of the city and I go wandering, I go cycling, I get lost around here, and I like getting lost in B.C."
PUBLIC SIGHTINGS: Several fans spotted Bono on his numerous outings throughout the city. He was seen taking a ferry ride on False Creek and winding down at comfy Gastown cocktail bar the Diamond. Larry Mullen, the band's drummer, was seen clearing his head with a walk down the seawall.